Multiple Paintings Sometimes Help!

As you may have noticed, I have had some 'technical difficulties' with my blog.  My past posts seem to no longer be available... we are working on retrieving them.  I apologize.  In the meantime, I will start anew!

This week I have been doing a number of studies in the same location in order to understand my subject matter better.  I always find these 'series' interesting, as multiple unresolved areas reveal themselves.  It is an opportunity to truly stop and figure some things out.  In this particular case, I was drawn to a footbridge used for irrigation purposes.  I was interested in the strong shapes and high contrast, as well as the intensity of the color of the water in light.

 Photo of the location

Photo of the location

My first 'rendition' of this scene was effected by a slight haze of clouds growing as I was doing the painting.  Having your light change is never a good thing... especially if you do not notice it!  I was pleased with the overall 'feel' of the painting, but felt the top left hand corner was not  resolved and questioned whether the composition was possibly too severe... running from left front corner to top right as directly as it did.  The opposite diagonal shadows helped to bring the viewer back into the piece, but I did not feel completely convinced... especially with a weak top left corner.

 Irrigation Bridge Study #1

Irrigation Bridge Study #1

...Back to the same location for another look and another painting!

The second time I wanted the water to appear brighter in relationship to the rest of the piece and wanted to angle the bridge toward the viewer.  This would bring the composition more to the bottom edge.  I also wanted to attempt to define the upper left corner more specifically so that it was clear that water was running under the bridge.  I was not particularly pleased with how 'mushy' the brush strokes appeared in relationship to the rest of the image.  Another painting was in order!   

 Irrigation Bridge Study #2

Irrigation Bridge Study #2

In this second painting I was pleased with how vivid the water appeared, but felt that the line of the water was completely disorienting.  I wanted it more of a horizontal line.  Also, as mentioned above, the quality of brushstroke in the top left corner did not hold up to the strength of the rest of the painting.  Perhaps I need to take another look at the site!

 Irrigation Bridge Study #3

Irrigation Bridge Study #3

In this third painting, I cooled the colors of the water in the upper left corner to bring them back in space as well as simplified the shapes.  I still think that the dark background could be neutralized and cooled (How did I get that ultramarine in there?... geeze... what was I thinking?) I also darkened the bridge a little so that the water stood out even more.  I held true to the interest I originally had with the strong shapes and color of the water, but felt that I lost some of the spontaneity of the brushwork as the painting got repeated.  

I could continue this process for many more paintings, but felt that I had gained resolution of the things that were bothering me and that the excitement an artist feels for their subject was waning as the paintings went on. 

As always, multiple paintings in the same location taught me a lot.  You can identify what you like and dislike about your painting and work with those ideas.  Very fun! 

 I think it is time to move on!